By Mike Augustyniak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Ahead of severe weather season, meteorologists want Minnesotans to plan ahead and know where to go and what to do when a storm hits.

“We can hope for the best, but we should be planning for the worst,” said Douglas Hilderbrand, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hilderbrand says underground locations are the best for most severe weather locations. Basements are a good option for tornadoes, but if one is not available, he encourages people to shelter in an interior room without windows. The more walls between the person and the outdoors, the better.

Mobile homes and manufactured homes are especially vulnerable to extreme weather such as high winds. Hilderbrand says to prepare for severe weather season and look into other, public spaces, like town centers or shopping districts with brick and concrete construction. Neighbors’ homes are also a good option.

During a tornado warning, he says to bring along specific items like flashlights, bottled water, and emergency kits. Pets will also be going through a scary experience, so he recommends bringing along anything which will comfort them.

If someone is away from their home when severe weather hits, Hilderbrand says to stay connected.

“The number one step is always be connected to information, TV, internet, your National Weather Service, NOAA, weather, radio, are all great sources of information,” he said. “The apps on your phones can help keep you connected, and give you that time and that ability to plan ahead.”

In the U.S., the National Weather Service on average gives 12 to 14 minutes of lead time for a tornado warning.

April 7 is #SafePlaceSelfie day, when the National Weather Service encourages people to find the nearby safe place they will use as a shelter during sever weather. To learn more, click here.

Mike Augustyniak